It was all your fault Cesc! by TB
The decline of our team and the failure to win trophies since 2005 is explained by the growth in the disparity of resources that are available for our competitors and ourselves (*see article below as footnote). In addition to this critical economic fact of life I believe that another significant factor was the loss of Cesc and the subsequent impacts of his departure on the team.
Our inability to compete with the resources of Chelsea and Man City and United led to our decision to buy young talented players and to shape them as individuals into a team over a number of years. There is one fundamental requirement with this approach – it requires players to be loyal and committed to the project over several years and to see it through to fruition to eventually achieve success and win trophies.
Whilst Arsene has been loyal and committed to the players and the project – the fatal flaw with this approach has been that his key players have not stayed the distance! They stick with the project and grow for several years to ripen, start to realise their potential, and then just when the team has matured to reap the benefits of this approach to become the good team – along comes a big temptation from one of the richer and more successful Clubs and off the key player goes and the many years of cultivating the players growth comes to nothing – as the project and the team collapses in disarray! If only the players had stayed the course – imagine what a team he would have created without all this disruption – with RVP up front, Nasri out wide and Cesc in midfield – add Carzola, Wilshere and Arteta and a fit Diaby and wow….! This process is explained more fully in the article
It’s a bit like trying to build sand castles on the beach and every full moon the tide comes in and knocks it all down and Arsene has to start all over again. Its extremely frustrating and totally soul destroying for all of us – including Arsene!
Cesc was the cornerstone of our ‘grow your own’ project – in the 2010/11 season we won 60% of our games with Cesc and only 31% without him! We were twice the team with him in the side or half the team without him! His presence on the pitch determined not only the results but also the way in which we played as a team – with Cesc there it was a delight to watch him conduct games and the rest of the team play around him. We were a very good team to watch with Cesc in our team.
I don’t think we have recovered from his loss – he was arguably the best player in the EPL – so it’s not surprising that we struggled after he left. It was not just the loss of an individual world class player that was experienced but there was also the huge negative (including psychological) affect on the team that was left behind. Although it disappointed me massively I don’t criticise Cesc for leaving and going to Barca but rather I seek to demonstrate the weakness of our ‘grow your own team’ approach when there are competing Clubs able to take your key players from you.
Losing Cesc was a massive blow to the project and set off a domino effect of losing other key players. We then lost Nasri and Clichy from this team which plunged the project into further crisis and we started on a downward spiral from which it was very hard to recover. The next season we have another world class player going – RVP with a team built around him – and then Song and the Arsenal project slipped even further backwards.
Each time this happens we lose not only a world class player – another the best in the EPL – but the team suffers too – and we are faced not just with the challenge of replacing world class players (when you cant compete for all the big names out there and you don’t have the time to start all over again and grow another Cesc or RVP) but also the task of re-building yet another team (when you don’t have the time to re-build) to enable us to compete at our level and keep us there. It has not helped that we also suffered long term injuries to Rosicky, Diaby, Vermaelen and Wilshere during this period.
These are daunting challenges which can’t be fixed over night – it takes time and inevitably there will be a period of readjustment when results will not be what we want and matches will be lost; egs Norwich, Swansea and Bradford etc. Of course this is extremely disappointing and frustrating and nobody suffers and cries out for the cheque book to be got out and pleads for Gervinho to be shot as much as I do – however when I calm down and think all this through I see that is no surprise to see what is happening to our team. When I look at others reactions what I see goes way over the top and borders on mass hysteria. Sadly, we get very little enlightenment as to the real reasons for our decline either from the popular media or from sections of our so called fans, but instead get black scarf demos, calls for the Managers head on a plate, and the team being booed off the pitch!
What should we conclude from all this? Five things we need to do:
1. Get a grip on reality. Appreciate that it is extremely hard to compete on level terms with the super rich Clubs. Accept that we have had to ‘grow our own’ teams over time with players that we can afford. Coming 3rd in the league is punching above our weight given the resources available to our competitors and to ourselves.
2. Accept that there are limitations to the ‘grow your own’ approach. It is vulnerable to key players leaving and this has had a serious impact on the project. Arsene and the Club did all they could to keep these 2 world class players but it just couldn’t be done. Grasp that it has been extremely difficult to replace Cesc and RVP and to rebuild the team after their loss.
3. Recognise that a couple of years back we got very close to building a very good team that today could compete with all the big boys but losing Cesc stopped us in our tracks and had a massively negative impact on our project and in part contributed to us losing other key players and then another world class player in RVP. This caused major disruption to the project, set us back and has led to where we are now.
4. Appreciate that the team is not as bad as it is painted and recognise that we are in a state of transition with new players to bed in, players coming back from injury and more players still to be brought into the team in January and next summer – and that re-building the team is a difficult imprecise process and takes time to implement.
5. By all means have a rant and kick the cat but when you calm down accept that there will inconsistencies in the team’s performance whilst re-building takes place. Stop being so impatient, intolerant, negative and angry whilst this is happening – what good does it do? Understand what has happened, get behind the team and yes, show some respect for our great manager Arsene Wenger – he really doesn’t deserve all this abuse.
*There is a very interesting article which quotes the work of an economics professor’s study of English football 1973 to 2010 which dramatically demonstrates that it is economics or more specifically the resources available to a Club which determines their success rather than the manager. I strongly commend you all to read the review of his findings in the footballosopher. It is very revealing and enlightening and helps us all to understand what has been going here in England and to the Arsenal